Wellington's WētāFX off to Oscars as Hollywood hype builds

A pilgrimage from Wellywood to Hollywood is once again underway for visual effects house WētāFX as hype for the Oscars builds.   

Kiwi Marvel fans young and old have been flocking to Marvel's international exhibition in Wellington.   

Their love for Groot and Rocket and the raggedy Guardians of the Galaxy is lifelong and for those who worked on the films they've been life-changing.  

Guy Williams is the VFX supervisor at WētāFX which has been nominated in the Best Visual Effects category for its work on Guardians of the Galaxy.   

Williams described himself as "somebody from the deep south who grew up playing in the dirt".  

"Nothing but sophisticated people get to go somewhere like the Oscars."  

WētāFX's relationship with the Marvel Universe goes way back.   

Mississippi-born, now honorary Kiwi, Williams worked on the first Avengers and the third Iron Man and was Oscar-nominated for both.  

His work on James Gunn's grand finale of his beloved Guardians franchise sends him back to the Oscars once again.  

"You're doing stuff that's insane," he recalled.   

"For Guardians Three, you're making a giant ship out of ruby and steel. You're doing this giant oner that's 18 shots stitched into one."   

The hallway scene that WētāFX spent 14 months working on.
The hallway scene that WētāFX spent 14 months working on. Photo credit: Disney

The epic hallway fight scene from Guardians Three, what Williams calls a oner, is what clinched the nomination.  

"From a technical standpoint it's fulfilling, because it's very complex work, but from a creative standpoint you're getting to play with Rocket Racoon and Groot."  

Williams said the team worked on the hallway sequence for around 14 months.   

"Every time you look at it you find new stuff," he said.  

Hundreds and hundreds of digital artists worked across the entire project and Williams knows he represents them all when the Oscars start getting dished out.   

"You have this sort of obligation to them to make sure you're living up to that premise," he said.   

"There are so many people, the actors, the stunt people, the director, the cinematographer. All these people are doing such an amazing job at what they're doing that you feel almost terrified, that you don't want to mess it up right? You don't want to be the one kid in the choir not to hit that note which makes the whole choir sound bad," Williams said.  

Williams will join the throng of Oscar hopefuls and Hollywood glitterati on the red carpet tomorrow.  

The 96th Academy Awards kicks off at midday NZ time.